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Pastor Luca und Dorina Mania.jpeg
Dorina Mania.jpeg
Arnold Fuchs.jpeg
Chapter 01
Chapter 02
Chapter 03
Chapter 04
Chapter 05
Luca Dorina Arnold


My name is Dorina Mania and I come from Güstrow in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and have been a member of our Tanzania group since 2004. A group of like-minded people who wanted to look beyond their immediate horizons got together for a long period of time until we found a partner parish in Mtii in the Pare Mountains of Tanzania. This partnership was founded in 2007 with a partnership contract that both parties signed. An excellent partnership and friendship has developed. In the contract it is stated that we are initially committed to staying in contact with each other, to getting to know each other, caring for each other and learning from each other for a period of four years. To get to know each other, the way of lif

e and each other's culture. It was not planned as a permanent contract; we said that we would wait and see. We don't know how it will develop in both our parishes and we can't say what will happen after four years; either we end the contract and say it was an interesting time or we can renew the contract - which is what we did and we are very happy about this.

Our partner parish is in Mtii which is part of the Pare Diocese. We found our way to this parish with the help of some important people. At that time Hans Kasch was responsible for church partnerships in different countries. We invited him to visit our group. He got to know us and noted our hopes and expectations and told us that he was in different places in Africa and that he would be on the lookout for a suitable parish which fits in with our expectations and vice versa. That's how we found Mtii. Then we received a small dossier in which members of the parish introduced themselves and who the pastor is. The parish is situated in the Pare Mountains and what's special about it is that it consists of four parishes. It's not like here where we have the cathedral and the parish surrounds it. It is spread over eight to ten kilometres in the mountains. The main parish is in Mtii itself, where the church that we initially visited is situated; and it is there that we made our first personal contacts. Hans Kasch told us the following about the parish: 'This is what the attitude towards life is like and these are the expectations and ideas of the partners. They are really looking forward to it.' It isn't that we chose them but rather that it was a mutual decision. That is why he felt that this could be a suitable parish for us.

In Tanzania there is a completely different connection to God and faith. For them it is the basis of their existence. We have always said what makes Sunday different from Monday? Going to church! Apart from that each day is rooted in belief, fellowship and the undying hope with Jesus and his presence. Doing something good for the parish. The attitude towards life, that really impressed us, the fact that they live with very simple resources. It is a mountainous region. There is no large town nearby where there a huge differences between the rich and the poor. There everything is poorer. The first times we went there, there was no running water. Long distances. ( But they are always happy and welcoming; did their very best to look after us well. Not just with food and drink but also they way they organised the visits - fresh flower decorations on the tables in a myriad of colours. We were really impressed by that. When we went to church they had already walked several kilometres. But they were there in their Sunday best. Everything radiated. It was a great occasion to meet in the church with the whole community on Sundays. All the things that have got lost here.

We are not just a project partnership - and I must stress this - but a real friendship. And friendship means visiting each other and being able to see how the others live. Their sense of life. And this can be taken back to one's own world. That is certainly not so easy and we were aware of that. When we invite our partners to Güstrow there is to some extent a culture shock because they live in a completely different way. They see everything and think that all white people are rich and have houses and cars. But what is crucial is that we learn from each other. How do the parishes work, how we work with the children. I think that both sides have profited from the others.

We said that we don't just want to get to know each other by exchanging letters but that they can really get to know us. So every other year we have organised exchanges. Some of us go there and then some parish members come to us. This is a good rhythm. We invited people that we wanted to develop a deeper relationship with. A fieldworker, the pastor of the parish, our project leader. We took them to a school or to visit the federal government building in Berlin or to other parishes and choirs.

This is a well-established structure which both sides are very satisfied with. You cannot set it all off against money. We also gain on a different level. What we observe about the attitude to life there, the view of the world; we benefit from that and we can use this knowledge. So I would say that it is on an equal footing. I know that in German this term is very over-used but somehow that is how it is. The background is that a partnership should be as equal as possible and I think that we are heading in the right direction. Perhaps that's the key to why is has worked for so long, honestly successfully and open-heartedly.

transcript by Dorina Mania